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KickassTorrents Owner Faces 20-Plus Years in Stir
Polish authorities last week arrested the alleged owner of pirate website KickassTorrents, or KAT, 30-year-old Artem Vauln of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Vaulin faces charges in the United States of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Conspiracy to commit money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Gamification's Serious Role in Sales Success
When gamification was just starting to catch on several years ago, I recall sitting next to the CMO of my then-company at a Gartner conference session. The presenter walked the audience through the concept of using ideas borrowed from gaming as a motivational tool, and about two-thirds of the way through, the CMO turned to me and whispered,"This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."
Amazon Sidles Into Student Loans
Amazon has teamed up with Wells Fargo Educational Financial Services to offer Amazon Prime Students a 0.5 percent discount on private student loan interest rates, Wells Fargo announced last week. Wells Fargo is the largest private student lender in the United States among commercial banks. The Amazon discount can be added to the 0.25 percent discount rate Wells Fargo already offers for enrolling in an automatic monthly loan repayment plan.
Yahoo Deal Could Put Verizon in Google and Facebook's League
Verizon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash. The deal, which comes on the heels of Verizon's $4.4 billion AOL purchase last year, will allow it to expand its digital advertising business. The purchase will provide Verizon with Yahoo's ad tech tools, search, email and messenger assets.
Verizon on Verge of $5B Deal for Yahoo Core Assets
Verizon reportedly is close to a deal to buy the core Web assets of Yahoo for $5 billion, which would end a months-long process of jockeying over the future of the struggling company. Verizon emerged as the winner of a lengthy bidding contest to acquire the assets, according to reports that surfaced Friday. An agreement is expected early next week.
Musk Plots Out Tesla's Next 10 Years
Elon Musk has unveiled a second master plan for Tesla, a follow-up to the vision he shared 10 years ago. The original master plan is now in the final stages of execution. The refresh sketches out a multiyear, four-pronged strategy that is about more than vehicles. Musk also plans to advance an integrated solar-roof-with-battery product and create a ride-sharing program, among other things.
LinkedIn Spiffs Up Sales Navigator
LinkedIn this week announced three updates to Sales Navigator. One is deeper integration with Salesforce CRM data, allowing leads and accounts to be imported into Sales Navigator automatically. More than 20 LinkedIn customers already are using this feature. The second is direct integration of Sales Navigator with Gmail. The third is a new recommendation tab on the Sales Navigator mobile apps.
Facebook Messenger Counter Rolls Over to 1 Billion
Facebook on Wednesday announced that the number of people using its Messenger app every month has surpassed 1 billion -- a major milestone for what is arguably the most important tool in the company's growth strategy going forward. A growing number of people are using Messenger to communicate with friends, send money, plan events, play games and tell jokes, the company said.
Netflix Shares Fall as Subscriber Growth Hits a Wall
Shares of Netflix fell sharply Tuesday after it reported lower-than-expected second quarter earnings, which the company blamed on subscriber growth that fell short of forecasts. Netflix added 1.7 million subscribers in the quarter, pushing its total membership to more than 83 million, the company told shareholders. However, that growth was far less than the 2.5 million it had projected.
Platform as a Platform
The platform land rush is definitely on. You can't swing a dead cat, as the saying goes, without finding an announcement about some new platform or some established vendor's attempt to enhance its existing platform. Some sorting out seems to be in order. What's not a platform these days? Well, if it's easy to substitute the word"application"for"platform,"then you should use"application."
Google Transparency Report Shows Government Data Demands Rising
The number of government requests to Google for citizens' personal data rose in the second half of 2015, according to the company's latest Transparency Report, released Monday. The number has been trending upward for the past few years as the number of people connected to the Internet has increased. The growth also coincides with almost-daily reports of terrorist attacks.
Uber by the Billions
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
Yahoo Posts Weak Earnings as Assets Sale Waiting Game Drags On
Yahoo on Monday reported second quarter earnings that fell just short of Wall Street estimates but left investors and analysts waiting to hear about progress in finding a strategic investment partner. Negotiations over the potential sale of the company's core assets are under way. The company reported earnings from operations of $39 million, or 9 cents a share in the second quarter.
Softbank Strong-ARMs Its Way Into Internet of Things
Softbank Group has agreed to buy British semiconductor maker ARM Holdings for about $31.4 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Softbank agreed to pay a hefty premium for ARM, with a price of about $67.28 per ARM share, which is a 42.9 percent premium over the $47.08 closing price as of Friday, the last business day before the deal was announced. The surprise move will help Softbank gain a solid IoT foothold.
5 Ways to Guarantee Sales Will Hate Your CRM
CRM often is described as a discipline and a technology that will transform the entire business. Sales and marketing can get on the same page, support will have visibility into what sales and marketing are doing, and every interaction can be captured and used to create a complete view of every customer. CRM has weak links, however -- and in many businesses, the weakest is the sales team.
Valve to Close the Spigot on Gambling Operations
Valve last week announced it would take action against third-party sites that run illegal gambling operations. A number of gambling sites have been leveraging the Steam gaming platform -- in particular, theCounter-Strikegame -- to create massive operations that convert virtual skins into cash, Valve said. Valve denied allegations that it has in any way profited from those illegal sites.
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Microsoft Wins Legal Victory in Fight Over Email Stored Abroad
Microsoft has won its nearly four-year battle against a warrant requiring it to turn over customer emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft had complied with demands to turn over account information stored on its servers in the U.S., but it had refused to give up the emails themselves, contending a U.S. judge did not have the authority to issue warrants for information stored abroad.
Consumer Reports Urges Tesla to Pull Plug on Autopilot
Consumer Reports has urged Tesla to disable the automatic steering function and change the name of its Autopilot driving assist feature. Questions recently have arisen over whether Tesla's Model S vehicles can operate safely without regular human intervention. Consumer Reports' change request sprang from concerns over a number of recent test crashes, including a fatal accident in Florida.
Verizon Customers Get No Respect
Why do customers seem to overreact when Verizon announces changes? Verizon's latest price hike has been causing angst in the marketplace -- at least on social sites like Twitter. Why does Verizon keep shooting itself in the foot? The short answer is poor marketing. Verizon's marketing moves show no care for the customer base, and that comes with at cost to Verizon.
Changes in Federal IT Spending Require Nimble Contracting
Federal agencies will continue to spend heavily on IT over the next five years, but the pace and direction of spending will be complicated by shifting priorities, congressional constraints and a presidential election. The bottom line is that the overall rate of IT spending will be above $98 billion each year for next six federal fiscal years, according to a forecast Deltek released last month.
The 4 Fundamental Attributes of Customer Loyalty, Part 2
Lots of CRM vendors talk about personalization, but their idea of how to do it leaves much to be desired. They address personalization very late, using a just-in-time approach to accessing customer data to support a sales or service encounter in the moment. This certainly is important, and it achieves the goal of personalizing the encounter by producing a catalog of data points.
Music Industry Boos Google's Antipiracy Performance
Google on Wednesday released an update of its online antipiracy efforts. YouTube has generated more than $2 billion to content copyright holders by monetizing user-uploaded content through its Content ID rights management system, Google said, adding that more than 90 percent of all Content ID claims result in monetization. YouTube also paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry.
Microsoft Unveils Enterprise Windows 10, Surface Pay-as-You-Go Plans
Microsoft on Tuesday introduced two pay-as-you-go plans for the enterprise. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP is"basically the OS wrapped with security and management delivered as a subscription,"said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. The Surface as a Service Program lets Microsoft CSPs who are also Surface Authorized Distributors use a managed service offering.
Amazon's Big Day: All for Prime, Prime for All
Amazon on Tuesday launched its second annual Prime Day promotion, offering tens of thousands of deeply discounted lightning deals for top customers and ratcheting up the e-commerce competition. Walmart and others struck back in an aggressive effort to hold onto their key customers. Prime Day had a slightly bumpy start, with Some customers reported having problems checking out purchases.